Re: Modern language
You are correct to say that it's the programs that are obsolete. The problem with these older technologies that the DoD, DHS and some other government agencies lack the people who have the knowledge to maintain and test them. Most of the COBOL programmers had retired a few years before 1999 and were temperaily rehired for a year or two before 1999 to fix the Y2K bugs in the old programs.
We all know that its more expensive to fix and maintain old systems than it is to replace them with new ones becuase of the time and resources to find the scarcity of both old parts and people with legacy knowledge. Besides how many people do you know who still use COBOL or 8-inch floppy disks in your company? Not many or certainly none at all. Where I still work at a local community college in Maryland where I started in 1984 right out of high school in the IT department in the 80's sure we used 8-inch floppy disks to boot and diagnose the old IBM-3274 controlers and used COBOL to run most of the colleges payroll, accounting and student record applications using an IBM 4341 mainframe.
In the 90's we've moved from the mainframe to IBM blade servers, we use the Elucian/Collegue ERP system for most of our production and administrative work. Our workstations are Lenovo ThinkCenter PCs running Windows 7 and Office 2013 and have yet to upgrade to Windows 10 and Office 2016.
If only the government can wisely move fast to upgrade thier systems to much newer hardware and software today they can save over $10 bilion annually. By digitizing their paperwork and moving towards flash and SSD for storage they can save even billions more.